There are some people with whom a connection is felt. I have had an off-again, on-again relationship with most campus ministry teams since I was in college, sometimes feeling as though they are trying to hard, sometimes feeling they are not trying hard enough. It’s resulted in participation at different levels on the various campuses where I have lived and worked. With my current chaplain, I have continued to develop a relationship with her over the past seven years, and have enjoyed the ways in which my faith and spirituality has been strengthened through this relationship. Recently, with a number of things happening in her life, I was compelled to make some soup and bring it to her house. Knowing that she eats a primarily vegetarian or vegan diet, I knew that this recipe from the Small Victories cookbook was the soup I wanted to bring to her house. I took a quick taste of it and think it was a delightful (and not super challenging) soup dish to bring over and share with them to have in the immediate, or tucked away in the freezer for a time when they were ready for it.
Roasted Red Pepper and Pear Soup
4 red bell peppers, halved, cored, seeded, and deribbed
3 Tbsp butter
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
3 fresh thyme sprigs
Freshly ground black pepper
1 russet potato, peeled and roughly diced
2 semifirm pears, peeled, cored, and roughly diced
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Set your oven rack so it’s 6 inches from the broiler and preheat your broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Put the bell pepper halves skin-side up on the prepared baking sheet and broil, turning the baking sheet so they broil evenly, until the skins are completely blackened, 10 to 15 minutes depending on the strength of your broiler. Immediately transfer the pepper halves to a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to trap the steam (which will help the skins to peel off). Let the peppers sit until they’re cool enough to handle. Rub off and discard the charred skins under running water. Roughly chop the roasted, peeled peppers, and set them aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and thyme and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring now and then, until the vegetables are softened but haven’t taken on any color, about 15 minutes.
Add the roasted red peppers, along with the diced potato and pears, to the pot. Give everything another sprinkle of salt and pepper and then add the stock. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Then turn the heat to low and let the soup simmer until the potatoes can be easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15-20 minutes.
Fish out and discard the thyme stems (most of the thyme leaves will have fallen off into the soup, which is okay). Puree the soup with an immersion blender or with a regular blender.
Start with low speed and slowly work your way up to high to completely puree the soup. Transfer the blended soup to a clean pot and reheat.